Aerocool Aero-500 Windowed Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


Aerocool is back on eTeknix once again and today, we’ll be taking a look at their budget friendly mid-tower, the Aerocool Aero-500. There’s a big market for affordable cases with great amounts of component compatibility and the Aero-500 certainly ticks a lot of the right boxes. You’ll find it capable of housing a high-end gaming system, some water cooling, long graphics cards, and much more and that’s sure to make it appeal to a wide range of system builders, especially given its affordable price.

With a long history of creating some fantastic chassis, Aerocool are always a welcome site here at eTeknix. Sure, we love our flagship models with crazy spec and price tags, but every now and then, a down to Earth and affordable product is just as good, especially given that these are the products people are more likely to actually invest in for their own system.

Features

  • Superb gaming case aimed for great airflow performance.
  • Specially designed top metal cover with extended depth to easily install 240mm water cooling system.
  • Bay covers are designed with a simple flip mechanism for easy removal of bay cover without removing the front panel.
  • Support hi-end graphic cards up to 374mm.
  • Supports max. CPU cooler height of 155mm.
  • Supports max. PSU length of 180mm.
  • Magnetic metal mesh sheet on top panel is easy to remove for cleaning and adds style to the chassis.
  • Removable PSU dust filter for easy cleaning.
  • Supports up to 4×3.5” HDD and 2×2.5” HDD/SSD.
  • 1 x USB3.0 + 2 x USB2.0 / HD Audio + Mic.

With support for an (up to) ATX motherboard, a pair of 5.25″ drives, a good amount of 3.5″ and 2.5″ hard drives, seven expansion slots, an ATX PSU, a good size air cooling tower and even a little room for a slim 240mm water cooling radiator; pretty much everything you could hope for from a decent gaming PC build.

First impressions of the Aero-500 are certainly positive, with a huge side panel window giving us a great look at the interior and a pair of easily accessible thumb screws at the back to open it up.

The right side panel has a large recess, which should give us a little extra room for cable routing/management behind the motherboard.

The front panel is certainly my favorite aspect so far, with a huge ventilated section that will provide plenty of cool air to your system, and those stylish 5.25″ drive bay covers with quick release paddles.

The silver parts are only plastic, but they do look like metal tabs; such as the ones found on more expensive Aerocool chassis products. It’s worth pointing out that this i on the import model, as the UK version features black clips.

Around the back, you’ll find a 120mm fan exhaust with a 120mm Aerocool fan pre-installed. Below that, you’ve got a screw guard to the right of the seven expansion slots, and finally a PSU mounting area at the bottom.

The top panel has a large ventilated section with dust filter as well as the main I/O panel.

The dust filter is magnetic too, so you can easily pull it off, give it a clean and quickly get it re-installed.

Towards the front you’ll find two built-in fan controllers, with the options for high, low and off, giving you great control over acoustics and cooling. Aside from that, the usual HD audio jacks, 2 x USB 2.0 and a single USB 3.0 ports.

The base has some large feet, which gives it great stability and some firm rubber grips that will help prevent it sliding around your floor, but also eat up a few (if any) vibrations from your system. There’s a small clip-on dust filter for the PSU; it’s nothing fancy, but it’ll get the job done.

Upcoming Antec P9 Window Edition Chassis Leaked!

The Antec P9 looks set to make a return later this year, as image have surfaced showing off a major revision to the design which is not currently on their EU website. The chassis has a nice big design, offering up room for ATX, Micro-ATX or Mini-ITX motherboards, with up to eight expansion slots at the back. The PSU is bottom mounted, with a huge amount of room, so even high-end PSUs should fit with ease. There’s slide out washable dust filters on the front panel, so maintenance should be nice and easy.

Cable routing looks very promising, with lots of room behind the motherboard, and lots of routing spaces where you would need them most. Expandability looks especially interesting, with a huge bank of 3.5/2.5″ drive trays towards the front of the chassis, but there’s also a pair of dedicated 2.5″ drive bays behind the motherboard, as well as an extra 3.5″ bay in the 5.25″ slot. These are especially handy, as the entire front hard drive bays can be removed, which frees up a vast amount of vertical and horizontal space for thick radiators and other custom look water cooling hardware. It looks like the chassis will handle a 240mm radiator in the front, 240/280/360mm in the top, as well as mounting areas for reservoir and pump hardware.

Obvious additions such as the side panel window are going to be great for those eager to show off their build and with room for enthusiast hardware such as extra-long graphics cards, thick radiators, high-end PSUs and more, you’ll no doubt be eager to see what’s going on through that window panel.

We’re expecting prices in the region of £70-80, keeping in line with Antec’s current pricing structure. We’ll update you as soon as we have more information.

Phanteks Launches Eclipse Series P400 and P400S

We had a little look at Phanteks Eclipse series during our visit to CES in Vegas last month and now Phanteks officially launched the new Eclipse P400 and P400S chassis. The two cases are identical on the basic features and the difference between the two is that the S model is the silent edition. Both versions of the Eclipse P400 are available in three colours: Satin Black, Anthracite Grey and Glacier White.

The Eclipse Series P400 and P400s are compact mid-towers that still have space for a lot of hardware. The interior chassis design is based on the Enthoo Series and the case is built with a full metal exterior and it comes in both windowed and closed versions. Other features include the RGB lighting system with colour control for external ambient and the option to attach extra interior RGB lighting strips.

 

The Eclipse P400 series is also equipped with dust filters all around, it features all-in-one radiator mounting location in the front for up to 360mm units, and a power supply shroud to hide the things you don’t want to show off. The P400S comes with the same features as the P400, but it also has additional features for an improved acoustical performance. The P400S includes top ventilation covers with soundproofing layer, front and side panels with soundproofing layers and also an integrated 3-speed fan controller.

There aren’t many limitations when it comes to hardware you can mount in the Eclipse P400. There is room for up to E-ATX motherboards with a width up to 272mm as well as default ATX, mATX, and mITX motherboards. The CPU cooler can be up to 170mm high while the graphics cards and other expansion cards can have a length up to 395mm without additional HDDs mounted and up to 280mm with them.

Speaking of storage drives, there is room for up to six 3.5-inch drives and two 2.5-inch drives in this great looking chassis, however only two 3.5-inch and two 2.5-inch brackets are included and you’ll need to purchase additional 3.5-inch mounts should you require them.

The new Phanteks Eclipse P400 series will be available in March for a recommended retail price of €69.90 in the basic version. The silent version will cost you an additional €10 and the same goes for a windowed version. Even the €89.90 for the most expensive model is a fair price for a case that offers as much as the Eclipse P400 does.

BitFenix Nova Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


BitFenix is back again, this time with their lovely Nova chassis. The Nova is BitFenix’s latest effort from the budget-friendly end of the market, promising great features at a price that is sure to leave your wallet or your bank balance happy. If you’re not trying to cram huge amounts of hard drives, multiple radiators and more into your system, then it is unlikely that you need much more than what the Nova offers and we’re eager to see just how much you get for your money here.

“Bitfenix Nova delivers style, performance, and silence at an incredibly competitive price. Whether you plan to build a basic office, home or gaming system, Novas simplistic design, aluminum badge, color options and optional window side panel mean it will blend in perfectly. Long air vents running along the sides of its front, hidden behind sleek mesh strips, provide plenty of airflow to cool the system. And as a result allowed us to keep Novas Top and Front panel completely closed to block fan-noise from escaping the enclosure, and dust from building up inside.”

Equipped with room for mini-ITX to ATX motherboards, room for a good size CPU cooler, large graphics cards, an ATX PSU and a decent amount of hard drives, the Nova is certainly a capable chassis. There’s also room for a couple of 120mm fans in the front and a 120mm in the back, although on the rear 120mm fan comes pre-installed.

The side panel features a huge window that runs almost the full height of the chassis, giving you a perfect view to show off your new build. Don’t like windows on your chassis? There’s a solid panel version available too. The black paint job is pretty standard stuff, but blends well with the plastics of the front panel and if black isn’t your thing, there’s also a white version available.

The right side has a blank panel and just like the left, it’s held in place by two thumb screws. The sides of the front panel have a strip of ventilation, allowing for indirect airflow that should help reduce noise from the front fans.

The front panel is plastic but is very nicely finished. There’s a single 5.25″ drive bay cover at the top and a small BitFenix logo; overall it looks smart enough to be placed in a home or office.

At the top of the chassis, you’ll find all the usual power controls, as well as two LED indicators and a pair of USB ports; one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0.

Around the back, there’s a single pre-installed 120mm fan, as well as seven expansion slots. As with many budget chassis, the expansion slot covers are a snap-off design, apart from the top one which is reusable.

Four sturdy feet with rubber grips give the chassis good ground clearance, and there’s also a small slide-out and washable dust filter for the power supply area.

Antec GX500 Window Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


Antec is one of the most recognizable names in the PC market, having created many extremely popular products over the many years they’ve been in business. From the high-end to the low-end, they’ve always had a lot to offer for a wide range of budgets. Today, we’ll be taking a look at something from the lower end of the budget range, the very affordable GX500 Window chassis which offers just enough features to satisfy the demands of a desktop gaming build.

“The GX500 Window is designed for gamers from the inside-out, from its advanced cooling system to its I/O panel with USB 3.0. A total of three fans come standard along with washable dust filters and handy cable routing that helps keep equipment cool, dust-free and reliable. The GX500 Window also lets you organize a clean, powerful build with space for elite GPUs up to 15” (380 mm) in length, and extra space behind motherboard tray. With a bevy of in-demand features all at a supremely attractive price, the GX500 Window is more than just a low price – it’s the value case that gives you more for your money.”

We all want a high-end feature packed and premium chassis, which we know can cost north of £100 for the one you really want, but at the end of the day, a chassis that’ll get the job done is no bad thing and frees up a lot of your budget, leaving you with more funds for a faster graphics card of processor. The GX500 does tick a lot of boxes though, with room for ATX motherboards, 15-inch expansion cards, tall CPU coolers, plenty of fans, some water cooling support (although rather limited), cable routing and a side panel window.

The left side of the chassis a features a funky window section, which is nice for showing off a bit of your build, although you’re not really going to see much here, as the GPU and a lot of the motherboard areas will be visually obscured by the side panel and the 120mm side-mounted fan.

The right side panel has a raised section, keeping with the design of the left, although on this side it’ll allow extra cable routing space. Both side panels are held in place by two thumb screws at the back of the chassis.

The front is certainly presentable, with a large fan mesh for two optional front mounted fans. I certainly like the way the top panel curves down a little bit, giving a sleek overall appearance that would look tidy as part of a gaming setup or in the office.

Behind the front cover, you’ll find a pre-installed fan as well as room for one more below it. There’s not the best in the way of air filters, but the front panel mesh should do a reasonable job.

Around the back, you’ll find a slide-lock at the top, which can be used to remove the top panel fan cover. Below that, a couple of routing grommets, a pre-installed 120mm fan, 7 expansion slots and the PSU mount. Unfortunately, the expansion slot covers are a snap-off design, but that’s hardly a deal breaker.

The top panel has room for two more fans, which combined with the front, side and rear mounts, adds up to some serious air cooling potential.

Remove the top cover and you’ll find more than enough room for a pair of 120mm fans.

Adding further to the air cooling capabilities of this chassis, there is a two channel fan control setup on the front I/O, offering low/stop/high modes on each. There’s also a pair of USB 3.0 ports, HD audio and the usual power buttons and indicator lights.

The underside of the GX500 is pretty decent, with four large durable feet that give it good stability and excellent ground clearance for the PSU air intake, which comes fitted with a slide-out dust filter for easy maintenance.

Thermaltake Suppressor F31 Silent Mid-tower Chassis Review

Introduction


Thermaltake is one of the biggest names in the PC component market, with a huge range of products that range from water coolers to power supplies. We’ve seen a lot of great products from Thermaltake over the years, and today we hope to see another great addition to their already featured packed range.

“The Suppressor F31 Window mid-tower chassis is the new addition to the Suppressor Series to the Thermaltake case line. Featuring the first chassis with 250mm wide and leading-edge sound reduction panels on all sides, expand your cooling options with removable panels for the perfect balance in silent operation and cooling performance. Supporting a range of motherboard platforms from Mini-ITX to ATX solutions, unrivaled liquid cooling expansion and expandability for all high-end GPU solutions users can expect an enthusiast built design they can trust.”

The Thermaltake Suppressor F31 is their latest full-tower, following on from their F51 chassis which launched earlier this year, designed with a relentless focus on silent performance. It’s been kitted out with thick panels, vast amounts of sound dampening materials, a front panel door and extensive air and water cooling support, giving you all the tools you need to build a power and super quiet system.

https://youtu.be/vkLnHc9Er5o

Equipped with extensive support for fans and radiators, a decent amount of storage, large graphics cards and more, the F31 is certainly a capable product; I can’t wait to take a closer look at this chassis, so let’s jump right in and see.

This chassis is closed up pretty tight, with lots of sound-dampening features to help keep your build as quiet as possible. There’s a very thick side panel on the left with an optional side panel fan mount. The fan mount has a magnetic exterior dust filter for easy maintenance.

Another thick panel on the right as well as more ventilation down the sides of the front panel to provide airflow to the front mounted cooling.

The front panel is just as bold as the rest of the design, with a thick door panel and a lightly textured finished. The design is a little boxey and bland, but I quite like the monolithic appearance.

At the top of the front panel, you’ll find HD audio jacks, power controls, dual USB 3.0 ports and dual USB 2.0 ports; that’s decent amount of connectivity.

A few magnets in the front panel help keep the door closed and to help further enhance the noise proofing, there’s a thick lining of sound dampening material on the back of the door.

There are two 5.25″ drive bays, each fitted with a quick-release tool-free cover.

The bottom cover clips out easily enough, allowing you to quickly clean the filter and access the front panel cooling mounts, where you’ll find a pre-installed 120mm fan.

On the top, you’ll find a full-length magnetic dust filter, which is easily removed and cleaned when needed.

You’ll also notice that under it, the fan mounts as closed off, meaning you can keep them in place for maximum noise dampening, or take them out to install extra cooling as required.

Four sturdy feet on the bottom give good ground clearance for the full-length, slide-out dust filter.

This filter gives clean airflow to the PSU ventilation, as well as any addition base mounted cooling.

Around the back, you’ll find the side panels are held in place with thumb screws, but also normal chassis screws. I just wish I noticed these extra screws when I struggled for a few minutes wondering why the flipping panel wouldn’t slide off; I have no idea why we need a second set of screws here, but you could always leave the removed if required.

At the top, there’s a single 120mm exhaust fan pre-installed, but there’s also the option to install 140mm cooling if required. The screw holes are elongated to allow more flexibility in the height of the fan/radiator mounting, as this could help prevent hardware conflicts.

There are eight expansion slots, each fitted with a metal reusable and ventilated cover. There’s also a routing grommet to the right, as well as plenty of extra ventilation.

The PSU mounting supports normal and inverted installation, of course, if you mount the PSU with the fan facing downwards, you can take advantage of the bottom dust filter.

Sharkoon Released The BW9000 ATX Midi Tower

Sharkoon released a new chassis once again and I have to say right away that it’s my opinion that this is the best-looking chassis of theirs till date. The new BW9000 ATX Midi Tower comes with and without a side panel window and it is available in two colors as well: black and white.

The small tower only measures 49 x 21 x 48 centimeters (height, width, and length) but supports a full-sized ATX motherboard, ATX power supplies with up to 26cm length, and CPU coolers with a height of up to 16.5cm. Graphics cards can be up to 43cm long with one of the HDD cages removed and 29.3cm with the cage installed. Plenty of space for most hardware.

You can install up to five 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch drives and two more 2.5-inch drives in the Sharkoon BW9000. The case also has two external 5.25-inch drive bays for optical drives, fan controllers, or liquid cooling accessories. The BW9000 features great cooling abilities with a pre-installed 120mm fan at the back and two pre-installed 140mm fans in the front. You can mount an additional two 140mm or three 120mm fans at the top of the chassis and both the front and top supports the use of radiators (max 5.5cm top, max 6.5cm front).

All fan areas feature washable dust filters. The top has a magnetic dust filter, the bottom PSU area has a pop-out removable dust filter, and the front also features a removable dust filter which, however, requires the front panel of the chassis to removed. The top IO panel features two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports next to the obligatory two audio jacks for surround sound or headset connections.

As previously mentioned, the middle HDD cage can be removed to make space for longer graphics cards and all drive bays features tool-free installation. There are plenty of cable routing abilities in this chassis and there’s also a large CPU cooler cutout.

End customers will find the Sharkoon BW9000-W (Window version) available immediately for the suggested retail price of €69.90 from authorized retailers. The Sharkoon BW9000-V (Value version) is also available starting at €67.90.

Bitfenix Released the Stylish New Nova Chassis

Bitfenix has shown us some beautiful PC chassis in the past and as it looks, they are far from done. Their newest chassis is the Nova that delivers style, performance, and silence at a competitive price point. Whether you want it black or white and with or without a window in the side panel, Bitfenix has you covered.

One of the first things that we notice on the Nova is the lack of air vents, or so it seems with the completely covered front and top covers. But thanks to a clever design with air vents hidden on the side of the front panel. behind a mesh filter, the Nova can draw plenty of fresh air while it keeps the pesky fan noises inside the chassis itself. This design should also decrease the amount of dust that will settle inside the chassis.

The difference between the two models, with and without a side panel window, is clear from the photos above and below. The large window allows you to show off your valuable components such as motherboard and add-in cards as well as the PSU. The last thing might be a deal breaker for some while it’s a win for others, the visible PSU. I personally prefer to hide mine as good as possible while others prefer to proudly present that very expensive and vital part of the system.

Bitfenix chose to angle the top of the front panel where the power button, reset button, USB connections, and audio jacks are located. This tiny detail can make a huge difference as it allows for better placement options. Whether the system is placed on the floor or next to you on your desktop, you’ll be able to easily reach them all.

The PSU area is covered with a removable dust filter to keep that part as dust free as possible, a very important factor for a chassis when it is placed on the floor.

The Bitfenix Nova has room for a full-sized ATX motherboard and comes with seven expansion ports. The wide chassis allows for graphics cards with a height of up to 140mm and length of up to 320mm, eliminating pretty much any compatibility issues from oversized cards. The power supply can be up to 220mm long and the CPU cooler can stand 160mm tall.

The Bitfenix Nova has three 5.25-inch drive bays, but only one of them is accessible from the front. That one also has tool-less fasteners for easy mounting of the drive. You can further mount up to four 3.5-inch drives and two 2.5-inch drives in the Nova.

The case supports two 120mm fans in the front and one 120mm at the rear. The rear exhaust fan can also be used for an AIO CPU cooler.

Bitfenix is releasing this beautiful chassis as an option that shouldn’t blow your budget but sadly didn’t announce any price yet. I’m sure that will follow shortly. Could this be your next chassis?

be quiet! Silent Base 600 Window Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


be quiet! have worked hard over the years to establish themselves as a premium brand and it’s safe to say they’ve done just that. Time and time again we’ve seen award-winning products, from their enthusiast grade powers supplies, incredible CPU coolers, high-end fans and their previous chassis, the Silent Base 800. All their products have been exceptionally well designed, built and more important of all, they all had a focus on being as quiet as possible.

Following in the footsteps of its big brother, the Silent Base 600 looks like the ideal solution for a mid-tower. It ticks all the right boxes in terms of specifications for those wanting a desktop gaming PC. It features high-quality be quiet! fans, room for high-end hardware, a sound-proofed design and even a dual-layer side panel window, to give you a look inside the chassis, without compromising on noise suppression.

As you can see, it’s vaguely similar to the Silent Base 800, with the matte black exterior finish that’s great to look at, but still reasonably understated.

The right side panel is really nicely designed. be quiet! could have used a blank panel, but they chose to add a bit of style to it instead.

The front panel is nicely designed, with a stylish oversized power button at the top, as well as four USB ports and HD-audio jacks on the edge.

The front panel is mostly black panels with a brushed effect to give them a touch of style. To the sides, you’ll find two full-height strips of ventilation, each with a little bit of silver trim.

The top part of the front panel opens out, revealing 3 x 5.25″ drive bay covers. More noise dampening solutions here too, with thick sound proofing material on the door panel as well as thick anti-vibration rubber stoppers.

The bottom half remains shut, but you can slide up a dust filter from behind the top door, making maintainance super easy.

The filter is washable and very easy to remove/reinstall.

Around the back, you’ll find a little bit of passive ventilation at the top of the chassis. Further down, we’ve got a 120mm be quiet! Silent Wings fan, three routing grommets, seven ventilated expansion slot covers and the PSU cut-out.

Airflow for the PSu and any base mounted cooling is kept clean by a large slide out washable dust filter.

The top panel is raised towards the front and back, giving it a nice unique look. There’s a bit of ventilation towards the back too, perfect for any top mounted cooling. It features an indirect design too, which should help reduce noise without hurting airflow.

There are four feet on the base of the chassis, giving good ground clearance for the bottom air vents; each foot is coated with a durable rubber grip, which should prevent the chassis from sliding around, while also reducing vibrations.

Phantek Enthoo Mini XL Super Micro Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


A few months ago, I reviewed the gorgeous Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV Micro-Tower Chassis and I loved it enough to award it with our Editors Choice Award. This week, we’ve gone a lot further up the Phanteks range, to take a look at their mighty Mini XL Now, the world mini might not imply that this is a big chassis, but it certainly isn’t mini at all, and we’ll show you why that is in just a moment.

Features

Enthoo Mini XL includes 2 x 140mm fan in front and 1 x 140mm fan in the rear. Ability to upgrade to additional fans is possible. All fans included are Phanteks’ new redesigned and better performing SP series fans.

Appearance

  • Sandblasted aluminum faceplates with matte finish
  • Multi-color LED light strips
  • Stealth interior design

Cooling

  • Extreme cooling capacity
  • Support for up to 14x 120mm / 8x 140mm
  • Comes with 3 Phanteks premium fans
  • PWM fan hub plus 2x y-splitters allow for 8 fan connections* (11 fans max with additional y-splitters sold separately)
  • Extensive water cooling support. Provides up to 5 different installation areas for slim and thick radiators varying from single to triple (120mm and 140mm form factors). Clearance for push-pull fan configurations.

Functionality

  • Dual removable harddrive cages
  • 2x removable Drop-N-Lock SSD brackets
  • Fully equipped with dustfilters (1x top, 1x front, 2x bottom)
  • Removable top panel for easy fan installation and dust filter cleaning
  • Compartment for fan installation in top panel
  • Clean cable management using Phanteks’ preinstalled Hoop-N-Loop cable ties
  • Mod friendly structure uses screws NOT rivets
  • 10 color ambient lighting controller
  • 2x USB 3.0, microphone, 3.5mm audio jack

The Mini XL comes with support for Micro-ATX motherboards, despite being a little bigger than most mid-towers and almost as tall as some full-towers. It also comes with support, through the purchase of some additional brackets which I have at my disposal today, for mini-ITX motherboards. What’s important to mention is that this isn’t an either-or situation, as it’ll support both a Micro-ATX and a Mini-ITX motherboard simultaneously!

“The MINI XL introduces a new form factor, super micro ATX. With its unique power supply location, the Mini XL case has been redesigned with optimal cooling in mind. Resembling the Enthoo Primo, it offers extensive water-cooling possibilities and supports the thickest radiators in the market (80mm). The case brings modularity to a new level. Almost every single panel or bracket can be removed or relocated to serve different purposes. For the ones who desire even more, the Mini XL leaves options for additional upgrades. Pherhaps the most interesting one is the possibility to transform the MINI XL into a dual motherboard system.” – Phanteks

One of the biggest features of this chassis is its water cooling support and the best way to demonstrate this would be the video below. It’s obvious that water cooling enthusiasts are going to love this chassis!

In the box, you get everything you need to get you started, from hard drive and water cooling adaptor brackets, as well as a lovely mini component box for all the screws you’re ever likely to require.

First things first, I’m pretty sure this chassis is coated in some kind of military grade paint used for stealth jets. In a well-lit room with a camera flash for extra light, it still manages to look dark black; that’s not a bad thing, but it’s terrible for some of my photographs. The left side panel features two windows, the larger one on the left, then a smaller one on the right to show off two extra SSD mounts and the Phanteks logo on the inside of the chassis; a great way to show off your fancy SSDs.

The right side panel comes with two ventilated sections with magnetic dust filters on the interior. The one near the front can be used for cooling fans or radiators, or just passive cooling for the hard drive bays dependent on your internal configuration of choice. The section at the rear is for the PSU, which is side mounted in the top right of the chassis.

The front panel looks really cool, with a mixture of curved edges and bold shapes. You can see that the has an extended took to it, with the main section sort of floating from the bottom and right sides of the chassis, which comes with a ten colour LED light strip, further adding to that “floating” effect. This extended design means the chassis is quite wide, but that will help drastically with radiator support, as well as the dual motherboard configurations that are compatible.

Around the back, you’ll see all kinds of crazy things going on. There’s a PSU mount in the top left corner, a universal 120/140mm spacing fan and radiator mount on the right, then down at the bottom you have your Micro-ATX motherboard mounting. Now, it’s worth mentioning that the radiator panel as well as the small panel in the bottom right corner can be unscrewed completely, lifted out of the chassis and replaced with an alternative panel to allow you to install an SFX PSU and Mini-ITX motherboard on top of all the usual hardware; don’t worry, we’ll be doing that shortly.

The top panel is vast, allowing huge amounts of ventilated airflow for a wide range of fan and radiator configurations as you saw in the video at the start of this review.

The front panel is tucked to the right side of the top of the chassis and comes with the usual power controls, two USB 3.0 ports and HD Audio jacks.

Instead of smaller feet, the chassis has two long feet that run the full length of the chassis, giving it extra stability; There are six tough rubber pads to help keep it firmly planted on your surface of choice. There are two dust filters that cover the full length of the chassis, and what’s really nice is that these filters can be removed from the left side of the chassis, making maintenance a much easier task.

be quiet! Silent Base 800 Windowed Edition Mid-Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


be quiet! have one of the best-kept reputations in the PC component market, having created some of the most reliable and best performing products we’ve ever seen. Their range of CPU coolers often dominate leaderboards for their ultra-quiet performance, but then again, with a name like “be quiet!” they wouldn’t be worth much if they were noisy. Their PSUs are rock solid, with a range of great features and you guessed it, super-quiet performance. So what about their chassis? We already reviewed the Base 800 a little while ago and absolutely loved the quality and design, as well as its focus on noise suppression, but it was lacking one little detail; a side panel window.

be quiet! aren’t about to cut any old hole into the side of their chassis, leaving their product with poor noise suppression and thankfully, they didn’t. The Base 800 Window Edition innovates to provide the same acoustic performance as its solid panel counterpart! So let’s dive in and take a closer look at the latest chassis from be quiet!

As you can see, the window panel is a good size, giving a fantastic view of the chassis interior; obviously not much to look at now, but we’ll have a system installed soon enough.

The top panel has a little ventilation at the back for any top mounted cooling.

A nice over-sized power button, keeping with the bold design of the rest of the chassis, as well as a nicely equipped front I/O panel on the right side.

The right side panel has a fan cover on it, which would normally match the solid panel on the left. It doesn’t really have a practical purpose, but it does help add a little flair to the chassis.

The bold front panel looks fantastic, with two towering air vents on the sides and that funky orange trim keeping the design fun and engaging.

As you might expect, the front panel is packed with sound dampening materials to help keep unwanted noises from escaping your system.

Two very high-quality Pure Wings 2 fans are pre-installed; you couldn’t ask for better fans!

All the fans have been mounted with rubber grommets on both sides to help reduced any vibrations.

Lots of ventilation around the back and another Pure Wings 2 fan, which is once again mounted on rubber grommets.

A slide out dust filter for the PSU with an easy access pull tab.

The base of the chassis is almost featureless, but you’ll notice four cut-outs, these are for mounting the rails/legs that are included in the box, which I’ll show you shortly.

Sharkoon Released Minimalistic S28 Value Case

Sharkoon created a new simplistic standard ATX chassis that should go well for many different kinds of builds, the new Sharkoon S28 Value ATX Case. The midi-tower is a value case with plenty of options and it is fully equipped with quiet fans out of the box.

The case features two 5.25-inch drive bays for the tool-free installation of optical drives and other large parts while the internal setup allows you to mount up to three 3.5-inch hard drives as well as four 2.5-inch HDD/SDDs. An additional 2.5-inhc HDD/SSD can be mounted at the bottom of the case.

The Sharkoon S28 has room for graphics cards with a length of up to 415mm without the 2.5-inch drive cage and up to 325mm with the cage installed. Large CPU coolers aren’t a problem either as the S28 supports up to 170mm high coolers.

The front-panel in the S28 Value offers both two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports for easy connection of external devices as well as the obligatory audio jacks for your headset.

Seven expansion slots provide plenty of space for your add-in cards, may they be graphics cards, network cards, sound cards, or anything else that you can get that fits.

The case has one rear 120mm fan and two front 120mm fans, but doesn’t really provide space for internal liquid cooling. Sharkoon did however add routing holes for external radiators and complete units – so it is possible to set it under water.


Those who wish to show off their hardware and have fancy lighting in the case won’t be left out either as Sharkoon created a second model of the chassis with a side panel that has an acrylic window.

Both versions of this new case are available now. The Sharkoon S28 Value has an MSRP of €56.90 while the Sharkoon S28 Window with acrylic side panel comes with an MSRP of 59.90.

Fractal Design Define S Full-Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


Fractal Design is one of the biggest names in the chassis industry. Time and time again they’ve delivered premium quality products for the enthusiast market and today they’re promising us a repeat performance. The Define S is their latest and hopefully one of their greatest chassis’, bringing all the support for high-end hardware you could hope for.

The Define S is equipped with all the usual high-end features that you would expect from a Fractal Design product. We’ve got sound-dampening materials, an innovative internal layout, extreme air and water cooling support, ModuVent fan vent covers and high-quality Dynamic Series fans.

Everything you need to get you started is included in the box, such as this nice collection of high-quality screws and fittings.

The first impression of the Define S is very good indeed. It clearly borrows heavily from the Define series in terms of external design, although that uniform look has become quite the norm for most Fractal Design products. As you can see, we’ve got the side panel window edition, although there is a solid panel edition with extra sound dampening material on the interior for those who favor silence over appearance.

The right side panel is a solid panel and both side panels are held in place with a pair of fixed thumbs screws at the rear; this allows quick and easy access to the chassis interior.

The front panel is very similar to other Define series chassis’, however, the front panel is no longer a hinge door design, as the optical bays have been completely removed to allow more room for cooling components.

Around the back, you’ll find a 120/140mm fan mount at the top, with a Dynamic Series 140mm fan pre-installed. There are seven expansion slots, each fitted with a high-quality reusable cover.

The top panel has a nice clean look thanks to the ModuVent fan vent covers. These are removable for those who want to install top mounted fans or radiators;  those who want to leave them in place can benefit from improved sound dampening.

The main I/O is neat and tidy, with all the basics in place and a pair of USB 3.0 ports. Interestingly, the port connectors are black, not the usual USB 3.0 blue, which helps keep the front panel looking nice and uniform.

The underside has four small feet, which have rubber grip pads on them to help reduce vibration, whilst also providing ground clearance for any bottom mounted cooling.

The bottom filter is magnetic fitting and washable, which should make maintenance nice and easy.

BitFenix Shinobi Window XL Full-Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


When you’re planning a new system build, sometimes a common mid-tower chassis just isn’t enough. If you’re planning on something big, with large radiators, huge graphics cards, monster size power supplies and more, then you’re going to need a big chassis! Fortunately, BitFenix has got us covered, with their Shinobi XL, a feature packed full-tower that should fit virtually any hardware you can think of.

As the name would suggest, this chassis is similar to the BitFenix Shinobi, the XL obviously defines that this is the extra-large version of the original, giving you even more room to play around with for your new build.

BitFenix is one of the most recognizable chassis brands on the market, having had huge success with several chassis over the years; such as their Prodigy and Colossus series. I’ve been very impressed with their products in past reviews, so I’m expecting great things from the Shinobi XL.

The XL is very capable, with room for a vast range of air and water cooling solutions, E-ATX and XL-ATX motherboards and all the popular BitFenix extras such as FlexCage, SofTouch and more!

I have the windowed edition at my disposal today, which features a huge side panel window. What’s interesting is that the window held into the panel with plastic push-click pins, this means you can easily take the window out of the panel. While this won’t be something your average user will need to do, it’ll no doubt please chassis modders.

Both the left and right side panels are made from thick steel and held in place by a pair of thumbscrews at the back.

The chassis is quite wide, but certainly proportionate to its height. There are two strips of ventilation, one down each side. The front panel has also been treated to that lovely SofTouch coating, which gives the Shinobi XL a sleek and rather stealthy appearance. Finally, we’ve got a staggering five 5.25″ drive bays! Not sure who needs that many, but they’d be great for converting to hot swap drive bays.

Around the back, you’ll find four rubber grommets at the top, a 120/140mm fan mount, with a 120mm fan pre-installed, nine expansion slots and the PSU cut-out; the PSU cut-out alone should give you some impression of the scale of this chassis.

The top panel has a large ventilated section, as well as two strips of ventilation near the edge; matching the design of the front panel.

The main I/O section has four USB 3.0 ports that are fed by dual USB 3.0 headers on the interior of the chassis, there’s even a high-power USB charging socket; perfect for charging your tablet/phone.

There are four large with rubber grip base and three washable dust filters on the base of the chassis. The PSU filter slides out, while the other two clip into place, which are great for anyone planning on mounting a radiator in the base of the chassis.

eBay Looking to Place Interactive Mirrors in Changing Rooms

eBay is looking to move themselves into the brick-and-mortar retail world, expressing interest in implementing mirrors into dressing rooms that will offer the customer suggested accessories and product browsing – all available through a touch screen. These screens are being installed as a trial at the Rebecca Minkoff store, seeing them follow a similar path to online retail giant Amazon – who of which are preparing a store opening in New York. eBay is part of a movement to make our retail habits more interactive, providing users with simpler options to pick and chose clothing and accessories, helping them save time and quite possibly helping these stores to turn some extra profits.

eBay’s head of innovation and new ventures, Steve Yankovich, commented: “So physical retail, a showroom, I think will never go away”. This statement regards eBay’s positioning on store-fronts capabilities and viability moving into the future.

This whole experience will be utilized through an app installed on the user’s phone, meaning that these screens will be able to utilize the persons purchasing history and further help them to choose their garments. Clothes in these stores will be connected to RFID tags, allowing these interactive mirrors to recognize not only the customer, but the clothes that they are sampling for purchase. This system will allow shoppers to attach their purchases and test fittings to their personal profile, allowing them to track their favorite styling and brands as they see fit.

Here’s hoping they install some kind of strong security system as there’s a seemingly large possibility of hackers utilizing the cameras installed in these mirrors for personal benefit in criminal fashion.

Image courtesy of  Bloomberg Businessweek

Lian Li Releases Windowed Version of the PC-Q33

Lian Li has released a windowed version of their PC-Q33 flip-open mini-ITX case, the PC-Q33W. The new version is exactly the same as the previous except that it has a window on each side panel. This is of course aimed at DIY builders that want to show off their fancy little mITX build.

The 18 liter case supports CPU coolers up to 180mm, ATX PSUs up to 200mm, and low-profile GPUs up to 220mm. You can fit three 2.5-inch and two 3.5-inch drives into it and it also has support for one 120mm AIO cooler.

The windowed version is available for both the silver and the black variant and it has a suggested retail price of $124.99. The sad news is that it is North America only for now, though I’m sure that it’s just a matter of time before everyone in the world will be able to get their hands on one.

Thanks to Lian Li for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Lian Li

Thermaltake Core V41 Chassis Revealed

Thermaltake continue to dedicate attention to the enthusiast DIY system builder market with their latest chassis, the Core V41 Window Mid-Tower. The new chassis comes equipped with the Tt LCS certification, which means it’s prepped and ready to go with a wide range of high-end cooling computers and water cooling equipment.

The new chassis joins the Core V71, V1, V51 and V31. It keeps the same style is its counterparts, but offers support for high-end hardware, water cooling support (up to 360mm radiator), ATX, Micro ATX and Mini-ITX motherboards and long graphics cards.

The chassis is targeted towards the gaming market, but it comes will all the features you would expect from a premium chassis to keep any system builder happy. There’s magnetic dust filters on all major intakes, a large side panel window to show off your system, tool free 5.25″/3.5″ drive bays, modular 2 + 3 + 3 drive bays and more.

No details on price or availability just yet, but expect it to be competitively priced and be available at most major retailers fairly soon.

Thank you Thermaltake for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Thermaltake.

Silverstone Raven RV05-BW Chassis Review

Introduction


Silverstone are back again with the latest entry in their now legendary Raven series. We’ve always loved the Raven chassis here at eTeknix and while we’ve not reviewed the entire range, I have spent some time tinkering with each of them personally. Just check out our Reviews of the RV04 and the RVZ01 here to see what else they have to offer. Of course if you’re eager to check out their latest and greatest, then you’ll do better to stick around for the rest of this review first.

The Raven series is something of a flagship range for Silverstone, often pushing innovation and very unique designs for the gaming PC market. They’ve often been big, relatively expensive and uniquely styled compared to rival offerings, but the RV05 looks set to do thing a little differently. The 5.25″ drive bays are gone, allowing much more room for the motherboard and other components, while also allowing Silverstone to cut the overall size of the chassis down considerably, this is backed up by a much more affordable price tag when compared to the older Raven models, which often cost a little over £100 at release, where as the RV05 is a much more wallet friendly £80.00.

The lower price point may tell you that the RV05 has fewer features than its older brothers, but that really isn’t the case here. As you can see, the chassis may have dropped the 5.25″ drive bays, but has instead added a slim slot-loading optical bay. Cooling is handled by two powerful Air Penetrator 180mm fans, although you can remove these in favour of 120mm and 140mm fans if you wish. Tall CPU coolers and long graphics cards are also supported.

The packaging is really nicely design and while a box is just a box, the extra effort on design does indicate that this is a premium product.

 

The chassis is really well packaged, with a protective cloth cover over the chassis and plentiful protective padding on either side.

In the box you’ll find a high quality multi language manual, some screws and cable ties, and a magnetic dust filter.

Google Launch Chrome Remote Desktop App

Google have just released their Chrome Remote Desktop app, and while Google’s remote desktop services have been available for a few years now, this is the first time they’ve officially been on Android in the form of an App. Much in the sameway that services such as Splashtop work, the app allows you to remotely view your desktop screen, giving you absolute control of your Windows PC or Mac from anywhere with an internet connection.

The big deal here though is the price, it is free! Services such as Splashtop charge money for remote desktop access, only providing “remote” access for those on the same local network. The app is only a tiny 2.1MB download for your Android 4.0 or higher phone and you’ll need do install the Chrome Web Store plugin.

If you want to check out the app, all you have to do is hit up the Google Play Store here, give it a go and let us know what you think in the comments section below. This is especially great news for myself since I installed Splashtop a few days ago and didn’t want to pay to get all the features, I’ll take Google’s free version over that any day.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Fudzilla.

Luxa2 H5 Premium Car Phone Mount Review

Introduction


When it comes to premium mobile accessories, one of the most upcoming brands to look towards has got to be Luxa2; a sub-division of Thermaltake. Luxa2’s aim is to offer the consumer a product that not only has a premium ‘feel’ to it, but quality that is actually premium – all with a modest price tag. Recently we took a look at the H1 premium desktop mobile holder and what’s clear about the design and build is that it’s rock solid and flawless, meaning you get a product that is very much worth the extra price. At this point make a note of our old saying of ‘buy cheap; buy twice’.

Whilst the H1 is great for keeping your phone nice and tidy on your desk, there is an even more common place where we could all do with having somewhere to place our phones. This is of course in the car. Most of us connect our phones to our in-car hands free kits, stream audio from our handsets and use them for sat-nav, but the problem is that there is not really anywhere to place it whilst you’re driving. In the UK especially, it is illegal to use your phone whilst driving without using a hands-free kit, but even if you are using one, the moment you pick up the phone to call someone, your attention is diverted from the road as you glance down. Another problem is being able to see what your navigation app is trying to show you and this is where the H5 mount comes into play.

Like the H1, the H5 offers a fully adjustable grip to hold virtually all handsets on the market and there is the full flexibility to rotate and pivot the mount to suit your individual needs and preferences.

The H5 packaging follows the same Luxa2 colour scheme that we have seen from a number of their other products and alongside a snapshot photo of the mount itself there are a number of product features highlighted around the box.

Corsair Obsidian 900D Super Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


The Corsair 900D is a chassis that needs very little introduction, it is one of the great lords of the chassis world and has been ever since it was first created. It is huge, it is expensive and it packs more features than most anything else on the market. It’s the prime example of what Corsair can do and while we’ve seen it at many trade shows and gaming events, packed to the brim with water-cooled graphics cards, we never really get to take a closer look at what it has to offer, nor are you really allowed to touch other people’s 900D builds as they’re often worth thousands of pounds.

Our build isn’t going to be an epic water cooling rig, we here at eTeknix have seen that, what we want to do is take a good look at the chassis, not the systems people put inside it. At £299 each, the 900D is a far cry from cheap, and it is even further away from the kind of tech your average consumer will have use for. It’s also incredibly big, so big that most desks wouldn’t be tall enough or deep enough to accommodate it! This chassis is the reserve of the enthusiast market, those looking for something crazy. Or in Corsairs own words, the 900D is “understated overkill”.

Just look at the specifications below, five radiator mounts, two of which are capable of housing 480mm radiators, fifteen fan mounting locations, even more if you mount push/pull fans on your radiators. Then we have nine hard drive bays, with room for fifteen bays if you purchase additional cages, four 5.25″ bays, ten expansion bays and room for not one, but two power supplies. To put it another way, this chassis has room for an insane amount of components!

Technical Specifications

  • Includes three 120mm AF120L and one 140mm AF140L exhaust fan
  • Brushed aluminium front fascia with full cast aluminium surround structure front and rear
  • Five radiator mounting points:
    • Front: up to 360mm
    • Top: up to 480mm (4 x 120) or 420mm (3 x 140)
    • Bottom side one: up to 480mm (4 x 120) or 420mm (3 x 140)
    • Bottom side two (with PSU installed): up to 280mm (2 x 140) or 240mm (2 x 120)
    • Rear: 140mm or 120mm
  • Up to fifteen total fan mount locations
  • Nine tool free 3.5” and screw-in 2.5” combo hard drive bays for maximum storage, upgradable to fifteen total (requires purchasing two additional cages)
  • Four tool-free 5.25” drive bays
  • Dual USB 3.0, quad USB 2.0 front panel I/O
  • Tool free side panel access to top panels.
  • Magnetic latch bottom HDD/Radiator chamber access with swing-out doors.
  • Full side panel window
  • Removable lower rad covers allow you to customize between cooling and clean, refined appearance
  • Three hot-swap bays integrated into one of three included modular hard drive cages
  • Ten expansion slots for multi-GPU dream systems
  • Dual PSU bays
  • CPU backplate cutout and rubber grommeted cable routing holes
  • Easily removable dust filters and fan covers
  • Snap-down cable routing latches and extra routing space behind the motherboard tray
  • PSU – ATX (not included)

So let’s get right to it and see just how far your £299 goes when you purchase a super tower chassis like the 900D.

The box is pretty standard stuff, but does feature a few suggestions for the chassis, these include using it for a liquid cooled gaming rig, or a monster file server.

Around the back we have the technical specifications, as well as a great break down image of the chassis major components.

In the box there was a very limited quick start guide, leaving many of the chassis components and fittings to the imagination, a full manual would have been better. There are enough fittings and fixtures to get all major components installed, and Corsair even include a handy L-shaped screw driver to reach some of the trickier screws on the expansion slots.

In Win GT1 Mid Tower Chassis Review

Introduction


In Win are setting an incredible pace for unique chassis designs recently, but while last week saw us taking a look at the glass and aluminium wonder that is the Tou, this week sees us looking at something a lot more practical and consumer friendly. I am of course talking about the In Win GT1, a budget friendly mid-tower that can be picked up for as little as £55 here in the UK. So it looks like we have a mid tower on a mid budget price range, so this should be something that caters towards quite a broad range of system builders in terms of features and performance, as we often find the best value for money comes from mid-market products.

In Win are known to draw heavy inspiration from non-pc products, much like with their awesome D-Frame chassis which was based around the chassis of a motorbike. In the same spirit, the GT1 mid-tower draws much of its design inspiration from a sports car and it will be interesting to see if its performance is as energetic as its design inspiration.

As you can see from the specifications below, the GT1 is pretty well equipped with 2 x 5.25″ drive bays, room for plenty of extra 3.5″ and 2.5″ drives, support for ATX/mATX motherboards, USB 3.0, 7 expansion slots and even a built-in fan controller.

The box features a nice image on the front as well as a bunch of tiles that detail the main features of the chassis. The box also kicks off the race car inspiration by adding a nice racing stripe across the top.

Around the back we see a lot more of the race car ideas with a funky image of a car similar to something like a Mustang.

Finally, inside the box I found a great bundle of extras, this included a handy user guide, all the screws and bolts needed to install our components and some red clip-in fixtures that can be added to the air vents. These clips are something you’ll see later in our build section of the review.

Steve Ballmer Admits Microsoft Made Too Many Surface Tablets

One thing is clear in the tech world recently, Microsoft are not doing well in the tablet world, their Surface device just isn’t winning people over and now it seems they’ve admitted why it’s costing them so much.

Steve Ballmer, the CEO of Microsoft has admitted that the company simply built too many Surface tablets and that Windows device sales in general haven’t been as strong as they expected.

Personally this came as little surprise to myself, I just didn’t see a place for the Windows tablet and I think this might be a part of the big wakeup call that Microsoft are getting recently, people didn’t want the Xbox One the way Microsoft intended, nor do they want Windows 8 the way Microsoft intended and the same goes for their tablet business. The market is flooded with tablets at the moment, many of which that are easier to use, cheaper or more powerful, it’s a tough market and I imagine that profit margins are getting slimmer as the market gets ever more crowded.

The write-down on the Surface RT has cost Microsoft a pricely sum of $900 million and that may not even fix the issue for them over night, so this is a game that could still go either way, but one thing is for certain, they need to shift hardware units at a competitive price.

“We built a few more devices than we could sell,” said Ballmer, referring to weak Surface RT sales. The Microsoft CEO added that the recent 30% price reduction was required to improve sales.

“We’re not selling as many Windows devices as we want to,” added the chief exec, referring to phones, tablets and PCs.

Maybe Microsoft have weathered this storm though, we all know they can afford a rough time once in a while but with Windows 8.1, a new Surface on the way and Xbox One on the horizon, I wouldn’t count them out of the game just yet.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Life4gadgets.